Wednesday October 23, 2002 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Ephesians 3:2-12) Gospel (St. Luke 12:39-48)
When hearing these words of Our Lord, “If the servant says, ’My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk…” one cannot help but to think about the scandal that is going on in the Church right now, the arrogance of some individuals who have decided that they could take the Lord’s work into their own hands. The Lord seems to be delayed in coming, therefore, the assumption is that He is not coming at all and they can do whatever they want. And so the Lord tells us exactly what is going to happen.
At the same time, the Lord allows these things for us as well, because each one of us needs to be able to make a choice in the face of the scandals that surround us. What happened in ancient Israel is exactly the same thing. There were scandals that arose and it was from the leaders, sometimes the kings, sometimes the priests, sometimes various other people. It did not matter where the scandals were coming from, but it was all there for a purpose. The people needed to make a choice. It was not a matter of being able to say, “Well, if they can do it so can I!” which, unfortunately, is what happens all too often. “If it’s okay for somebody else to do it then it must be okay for me to do it too.” We need to be able to look at that and recognize that this is wrong, and then do exactly what we should do. We cannot look around and say, “Well, if the other servants of the Master are goofing off, not doing their work, letting things go to pot, why should I do my job? After all, nobody else has to work and they’re all getting paid! Why should I have to work? I should be able to relax and have fun and enjoy myself just like everybody else.”
But we know what the Master’s Will is; He has made it very, very clear. We know what is expected of us. And the Master tells us that when He returns, those who are faithful in what they are supposed to do are going to be given a position, that is, they will enter into eternal glory. Those who are unfaithful are going to be severely beaten, which means they are going to be sent to hell where they are going to suffer for eternity. So we know what the situation is, and each one of us needs to be busy about what we are supposed to be doing. We cannot look around at the other people and suggest that we can do something similar; but rather, we need to be faithful to what is expected.
Saint Paul, when he looks at what Our Lord has provided for us, says that in Christ we are able to speak boldly. And we are. And we are able to act boldly in Christ because we know His Will, we know the mystery. And so I think, given the situation, Saint Paul is rejoicing that he lives in a day when something had been revealed that had never been revealed to humanity before: that in Christ Jesus the Gentiles were now coheirs with the Jews and members of the same household of God. If you just think about what has been going on in the last week, we live in a day and age when there are new things that are happening. These new mysteries of the Rosary, for instance, being given to us and all the things that are entailed with that, what the Holy Father has in mind in giving us those mysteries, and that we live in a time when all of this is occurring, that we live in a time when the Church is going through what She is. We live in a time when there is so much expectation. What a gift that God has given to us! We should be able to rejoice like Saint Paul did. We should be able to speak boldly and act boldly in Christ Jesus because these mysteries have been revealed to us and they have not been revealed in time past.
So we need to make sure that we remain faithful, that we enter deeply into the mystery of Christ. And we have been given an opportunity to meditate more deeply on that mystery every week now, and to be able to look at how that applies to our lives and to be faithful to Christ because much has been entrusted to us – and much will be expected of us.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording with minimal editing.